Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bargain Basement Prices on Rock Memorabilia!

The White AlbumWell the recession has finally hit the memorabilia market. Sky high prices for rock’s relics are plummeting. However, they still remain out of reach for most of us. John Lennon’s toilet did well recently, fetching $14,000 in a high profile British auction. However, there are a number of boomers out there who have some pricey items that they wish they could liquidate right now.

Anthology 3The Rock And Roll Detective® has recently unearthed an example of one such collectible. The item is an acoustic guitar that George Harrison bought just before The Beatles “The White Album” sessions began in 1968. The guitar was likely used on the acoustic demos that The Beatles recorded at Harrison’s home in Surry. Some of these acoustic White Album demos have appeared on The Anthology 3 CD set.  The guitar in question is a 12-string Harptone acoustic. It is also likely that George used his new Harptone during The White Album sessions.

After the Beatles break up, Harrison continued to use the guitar for songwriting and to record his solo album All Things Must Pass. In the bootleg world, one can hear George playing this Harptone on his studio demos for Phil Spector prior to recording All Things Must Pass. The CD containing these sessions is called Beware of ABKCO (a sly reference to his then manager Allen Klein).

This famous guitar surfaced again at The Concert for Bangladesh in the hands of Badfinger guitarist Tom Evans at Madison Square Garden in 1971. You can view Evans playing the guitar in the film GEORGE HARRISON "THE CONCERT FOR BANGLA DESH" Multimedia Collection: 2 CD's + 1 DVD set.


When Harrison formed his own record label, Dark Horse Records in 1974, he began producing a band called Splinter. Splinter was a two man band consisting of Bob Purvis and Bill Elliott who originally were discovered by The Beatles’ assistant Mal Evans. George produced their debut album for his new label and played guitar as well under various pseudonyms: P. Roducer, Hari Georgeson and Jai Raj Harisein. The album was released in September of 1974 and was titled, The Place I Love. At the conclusion of the sessions, George gifted the 12-string Harptone to Bob Purvis.

The Place I Love
The trail of the Harptone surfaced again in July, 2005 when (presumably) Bob Purvis consigned the guitar to British auction house CooperOwen. The identities of consignments and buyers are always closely guarded by auction houses. The guitar reportedly sold for $170,000. It is one of the few Harrison-used and owned guitars to ever come up for auction.

The guitar was sold to a private collector. The Harptone made one more public appearance at the venerable Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in conjunction with the Concert for Bangladesh exhibit. The guitar was loaned by the collector to the museum and was displayed from September 8, 2005 to May 31, 2006. It was insured at that time for $190,000.

Today, the collector is attempting to sell the guitar privately. The provenance of the guitar is impeccable and indisputable. In a good economic period the value of this rock gem might have doubled since the 2005 auction, with the added cache of being displayed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. However, these are tough times and a “buyer’s market” now exists. The private selling price today for this guitar is a mere $58,000. So, instead of buying that Cadillac Escalade or paying your kid's private college tuition this year, you could own a piece of rock history. Or, you can just read about it here for free!

Until next time, we will keep on digging up the music history…

2010 © Rock And Roll Detective ® and Jim Berkenstadt
All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

  1. Jimbo,
    Nicely done. More stuff I didn't know.
    Maybe I'll write a book and call it "Stuff I Don't Know"....